As James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser, his name might not fit on a business card, but no matter. When you’re a highlander in the 1700s, your business is survival, and making sure that your kilt is securely fastened.
Sam Heughan, the Scottish actor and “Outlander” hunk, wears a gray T-shirt and black pants in person, but he confronts the must-ask wardrobe inquiry before he’s even asked. “There is a rumor that we wear nothing under those kilts and it’s true,” he said.
The third season of “Outlander” just began on the Starz channel, and it covers Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling novel “Voyager.” After 20 years apart, rebel Jamie (Heughan) reunites with his lost love Claire (Caitriona Balfe).
Heughan also just wrapped the film “The Spy Who Dumped Me” due out next summer. “I wash up well, but I love being covered in blood and mud for ‘Outlander,’ ” he said.
What is a typical Sunday like for you?
If I’m left on my own, it’s the perfect time to get to the gym and then go outside and take a hike. I like to keep moving.
Have you ever been to Vegas?
I played Batman in Vegas once during a Batman Live show at the University. It was a comic book come to life onstage with pyrotechnics, trapeze acts, the Batmobile and big fights. It was a lot of fun. Vegas was amazing. Really passionate audiences and all those bright lights.
Jamie and Claire have aged 20 years as the season opens. How did you approach the decades passing?
We have an incredible hair and makeup team that makes us look a bit older, but it feels real. It’s not about the lines, but what happens to them.
The battle scenes at Culloden were spectacular. What was it like to portray Jamie dying?
One of my favorite parts was lying there and this lone rabbit runs by. That was just so surreal. Jamie is delirious as he lays dying and his leg is pouring out fake blood. I had Tobias Menzies, who plays Captain Jack Randall, lying on top of me, and he’s dying. They almost die in an embrace, which is such an interesting choice for two men who are repeatedly trying to kill each other.
So much is riding on a print shop scene where Claire and Jamie reunite. Was there pressure to make it an unforgettable TV moment?
No pressure, but it was really special. The characters have their own lives and they go through the emotions of grief when it comes to losing someone they love. But then for that person to come back into your life, it would almost make a man faint rather gracefully.
“Outlander” has some of the most talked about love scenes ever done on TV. Do you just leave your inhibitions at the door?
It’s actually easier to shoot a fight scene than a love scene. With the sex scenes, it’s not what people think. There are so many people in the room and it’s about how you move for the camera.
You have such palpable chemistry with your co-star. Do you remember the first time you met?
I was cast first and then she was brought in to read a scene. It’s the part down by the water where Jamie asks Claire why she knows so much about the future and they get into a big fight. It got very physical. She was so pissed off at me for putting her in a bear hug, but that was perfect for Claire who can get very angry.
Do you ever wear a kilt in real life?
I do wear a kilt, but not every day. It’s something in Scotland we wear for formal occasions. I also have a beer kilt. That’s the kilt you wear when you go to a sporting event. It’s a kilt you don’t mind wearing if something spills.